Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Diabetes Demystified - Unraveling the mystery of diabetes mellitus for the layman

As unpredictable as earthquakes, conversations can get us talking or explaining anything in the universe at any given point of time. My memory falls short of recollecting exactly what led us to discuss diabetes that day but I managed to straighten the my friend’s comprehension of diabetes.

Friend: I avoid eating sugar or sweets. They are known to cause diabetes.

Me: No, they do not cause diabetes.

Friend: How is that possible? Eating a lot of sugar causes the blood to go sweet and that condition is called diabetes.

Me: No it is not. You are mistaken. You believe the human body to be like a cup of coffee that will become sweeter as we go on adding sugar to it. It is not like that.

Friend: Then what is it genius?

Me: Well let me give you an example. But promise me that you won’t ask me questions while I explain. The example is far-fetched but you will understand what it is. But don’t ask questions, we won’t get anywhere.

Friend: But what if I have a doubt?

Me: No way! No questions! Try and believe for a little while that I am Lord Krishna and you are my devotee Arjun and we are on the brink of the commencement of the final battle of the Mahabharat! Lord Krishna had asked Arjun to not ask him questions while he spoke the Bhagvad Gita.

Friend: Oh my God! This is the height of exaggeration!

Me: I know but may I begin my explanation?

Friend: Go ahead.

Me: To live life fruitfully, we need money. We keep that money in a bank. When we need our money for use, we can only obtain it from the bank with the help of an ATM card. For the time being, we will forget the option of withdrawal slips, alright?

Friend: Fine. No problems, next?

Me: Now consider this situation. You have lost your ATM card. Will you be able to obtain your money from the bank?

Friend: No

Me: Situation no. 2. You have an ATM card but it is damaged beyond use. Will you be able to obtain your money from the bank?

Friend: No

Me: Now you are without money, i.e. liquid assets. Hence you start liquefying your other assets i.e. you sell your other assets like your vehicle, gold, etc. to obtain money to run your life smoothly. But the money in your bank will remain unaffected; in fact it will increase due to the interest.

Friend: Yes

Me: Now as we require money, the body requires glucose. The body puts this glucose into the blood like we put money in the bank. To obtain our money, we use the ATM card; the body uses ‘Insulin’ to obtain the glucose from the blood.

Friend: Oh, ok. (He looked liked he had heard the word ‘insulin’ for the first time)

Me: Now if the body does not have insulin, it will not be able to obtain glucose. If the insulin is damaged, i.e. of a bad quality, the body will still not be able to obtain glucose. Just like the case of the ATM card.

Friend: Oh, ok.

Me: Just like us, the body starts liquefying the other assets available. It first starts burning all fat available to produce energy. Therefore, diabetes patients become thin. Now the glucose in the blood remains unaffected; it in fact increases because we continue to eat food. This is why and how the blood turns sweet. Not because of sugar, but because of a lack of insulin. Is it clear?

Friend: Now I’ve understood what diabetes is. It’s good you asked me not to ask questions. I might never have understood your example. How do you think up such things?

Me: One may call me the epitome of immodesty as I self-assuredly state that I have a brilliant imagination and a fantastic ability to draw up incredulous but pertinent analogies.

Friend: There we go again.

And so we continued our blah, blah, blah… about everything under the sun.

P.S.: I was originally planning to title this post as ‘Diabetes For Dummies’ but decided against it because that might have amounted to copyright infringement!

5 comments:

^RoOhAnI^ said...

Lol.. That's one way of explaining this which I've never heard of before.
Loved the way u took the example and explained. You sure do have a brilliant imagination and a fantastic ability to draw up incredulous but pertinent analogies!!! Lol :-D

Natalia said...

Roohnal, my problem is that I can't understand most things unless I compare them with stuff I already know and understand. Hence the excessive dependence on imagination!

ach_85 said...

This friend character in your posts is overtly unjustified and given the most stupid dialogues :) ... please do some justice to your friends.

Natalia said...

Well Achintya, I have to hide the identity of my friends. Privacy matters friend!

Natalia said...

I forgot to mention another thing. The posts about diabetes and my religion 'Nataliaism' are real conversations which have been reported in almost the way they took place, so there is no injustice involved. ;)

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An infectiously enthusiastic incorrigible optimist, insanely in love with and morbidly curious about life, death and everything in between.